Gratitude, Good News & Guidelines is a collection of stories designed to inspire and provoke thought. The contributing authors hail from all walks of life and several generations. Coming from Thailand, India, China, Germany, Pakistan, the USA, New Zealand and more locations, the writers and featured artists represent Western and Eastern influences and people who have walked a variety of life paths and have embraced diverse faiths and points of view. From teenage authors still navigating their way through high school, to retirees celebrating their life’s accomplishments and people who are embarking on their third or fourth careers, the writers’ shared goal is to inspire the reader—no matter where he or she is in life—with real voices and unexpected ideas.
As you might guess, the essays are grouped in along three themes: gratitude, good news and guidelines. Now I’m an optimist, so when Bhavna approached me about writing an essay for this project, my first instinct was to head for gratitude or good news, because they are things I believe we need to embrace in life. But when I reflected that the purpose of the anthology was to raise money for a school (see below), I decided I should also learn something from this process. The result is my essay, “Excuse Me, Ma’am, Your Bag Is Overweight: Writing Lessons from a Serial Overpacker” (you’ll find it on page 201 of the anthology), in which I combine two guidelines I often butt heads with—airline baggage allowances and editing styles!
Sales of the anthology will help support the Child Support Center at the Makkasan Slum school, which serves children in an underprivileged area of Bangkok. As you can see from this Facebook video shared by some of Bhavna’s students at the Bangkok School of Management, the school is a very small place (considering the number of students!) that's nestled under a highway. Even though the school is run quite well, it lacks the resources to provide the children with the best materials and activities.
I’m excited to be part of this charity effort and I’m also pleased to reunite—on the page at least!—with Bhavna and some of the other friendly, talented writers I met at the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators Association conference in Bangkok in 2012. I’m so happy to see four of us from the conference featured here: Bhavna, Anette Pollner, Romanov Iman and myself.
As I mentioned above, Bhavna is an accomplished author and teacher; she is also a speaker and Reiki master. Anette is a novelist and writing coach who runs a series of creative writing workshops in Asia and also now Europe, helping writers find the fire within. And Romanov is a Pakistani writer who has been a solid support and a wise counsel for me over the years.
Here's the Amazon link to the anthology. Please take a look at the collected essays from writers around the world! Happy reading.